German Winter School Sells Out in Under Three Days

By P/M Ronnie Bromhead

The Northern Winter School 2019 opened for registration on March 11 and was sold out in two and a half days. Prior to that I was feeling very positive about the school because I had been receiving lots of personal messages with nice comments from past participants but also a lot more enquiries from potential students. 

In the event I was so overwhelmed I had to close registration on the same day it opened so that I could catch up. I say ‘I’ but what what I really mean is the school’s fantastic webmaster Markus. 

The next day registration was opened again and within a few hours all vacancies had been taken. Now, for the very first time, we have introduced a waiting list in the event someone has to withdraw.

I remember the first NWS with only its 17 pipers and thinking, is this really going to work here in north Germany? Well four years later the pipers (and now thankfully drummers and drum majors) have proven me wrong – or is it right?

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I’m sure I’ve said this before, and if I have please forgive me. I remain convinced that the school has what I consider to be the best teaching team in the world.

I know it’s a very bold statement and I’m leaning far out of the window but I stand by it. The instructors bring with them over 20 world championship pipe band titles, piobaireachd gold medals, reed makers, bagpipe makers, composers and judges. It really is a flag not many piping schools/workshops can wave. 

The 2017 school

The youth hostel in Mueden (Müden) is of the highest standards with excellent rooms, single, double, with or without ensuite. The food is also high standard with a good selection at every meal. Students book lessons with the NWS but pay their accommodation directly at the hostel.

That way they can see that there are no hidden costs and that they really are getting value for  money. This has been the school’s ethos right from the beginning. 

We supply coffee for free throughout the day and entrance to the concert evening is also free. Apart from teaching all day, the instructors provide an evening class literally every evening.

Last year the school was complemented by the participation of pipers who had flown all the way from Singapore. They will grace us again this year along with other students coming from Australia and the Ukraine. 

Instructors and students from Singapore at the 2018 NWS

The NWS boasts a 100% pass rate in exams and this year more than ever have registered for exams. I think the German approach is also a major factor for the success of the winter school.

As we are all well aware, the Germans are reknowned for their discipline and this element they bring to the school: hard working, always on time and prepared for lessons. 

In the evenings as a quid pro quo the instructors take lessons on how to drink fresh German beer properly; this is always done under protest. Roll on November!

  • Interested in attending the NWS? Find out more here.

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